The role of trade as a driver of economic development is undisputed. But are the poor and vulnerable groups going to benefit from its advantages as well?
Photo: Jörg Böthling


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Development paradigms are changing rapidly. Today, increasing attention is given to trade and the role of the private sector in tackling rural poverty and reaching sustainable rural development. What are the strategic trends in support of these links between trade, agri-business and sustainable rural transformation? And how does theory relate to practice?

Trade and inclusive agri-business for job creation and sustainable economic growth have a new impetus in the context of rural poverty, high rural unemployment in developing countries and growing concerns about economic migration. Value-chain development and value addition of agricultural produce are of increasing importance in meeting the rapidly growing demand of the urban population. Africa is focusing on a return to self-sufficiency in food supply which the continent lost in 2000 due to decreasing food prices in the nineties and failing investments into agricultural transformation by the farming community, international finance institutions and governments. Along with Africa, Asia and Latin America find greater opportunities in supplying local, national and regional markets with all products along the value chain than in investing more heavily into export or cash crops like coffee or soy beans. But do international consensus and trade agreements support local and national trade agendas?

Many Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their targets and indicators call for an end of trade restrictions and distortions, agree on special and differential treatment of the trade regime for developing and least-developed countries and advocate poverty reduction through inclusive value chains and trade.

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